Xbox Series X doesn't have exclusive Dolby features after all

xbox series x
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Update: Microsoft has reached out to Tom's Guide to provide a correction to the below article. The original Xbox blog post confirming that Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision are exclusive to the Xbox Series X for the next two years was in fact posted in error.

A Microsoft spokesperson said: "A blog post was mistakenly published by a local Xbox team that included inaccurate information regarding exclusivity of Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision on Xbox Series X|S. There is no exclusivity agreement of either tech on Xbox. We are proud to partner with Dolby to offer Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision to gamers on Xbox and will have more to share about the general availability of Dolby Vision on Xbox Series X|S soon.” 

So it looks like these Dolby features could theoretically come to additional gaming consoles at any point in the future. The original article follows...

The Xbox Series X may have the exclusive use of Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision for two years according to an official Xbox blog post — after this time window, the features could presumably come to PS5

This news originally surfaced thanks to a post on the official Xbox Wire in France. While the article has since been removed — likely as the terms of Microsoft’s deal with Dolby wasn't supposed to be made public. However, information is tricky to eradicate from the internet and the post was screen-capped and widely shared before it could be taken down. 

The blog post was translated (via VGC), and reads: “Xbox Series X|S have been Dolby Atmos compatible since their release and Dolby Vision will arrive on these consoles sometime in 2021, with both technologies remaining exclusive to the Xbox ecosystem for two years.”

Dolby Atmos is a surround sound system that primarily competes with Sony’s 3D Audio technology, at least in the console space. Whereas Dolby Vision is a form of HDR that optimizes the way your TV delivers pictures. Neither feature is currently available on PS5. 

These technologies are a serious boon for the Xbox Series X when going head to head with PlayStation’s flagship console in terms of audio and HDR. And while this exclusively deal does mean Microsoft’s bulky black box will remain the home of Dolby Atmos/Vision for now it does suggest in the future the PS5 could get these features. Of course, Microsoft could negotiate further exclusivity, or Sony may have no interest in bringing Dolby features to its own console years after launch. 

Xbox Series X

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The blog post also revealed that the official Xbox Wireless Headset will only have free Dolby Atmos support until the end of September. “Our partnership with Dolby allows you to activate Dolby Atmos for Headphones on all Xbox Wireless Headsets until September 30, 2021. After this trial period, you will be able to purchase the license for the app directly from Dolby,” it stated.

 We don’t yet know how significant this news will be for the Xbox Series X long-term. Though PS5 players will surely be pleased to know that, in a couple of years, these Dolby features could come to Sony’s latest gaming console.   

If you’re still after a next-gen system but haven’t managed to secure one yet due to the ongoing supply issues, make sure to bookmark our Xbox Series X restock and PS5 restock guides. These contain the latest stock information as we get it. 

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.